Thursday, September 08, 2005

Word on the Street: Zimbabweans respond to the fuel increases

Zimbabwean officials have hiked fuel prices by over 100%. This hardly two weeks after the prices of many basic necessities were uppped drastically.

Yours truly spent the day trolling among our nation's hard hit working class for a response. Here are a couple excerpts, from a man and a woman both of whom work in suburban Harare.

*Tim* works for a large financial concern in northern Harare;

zimpundit: What do the fuel increases mean?

Tim: Much as we might have thought that we were going through a rough patch, it would appear we haven't gone through anything yet. Seeing as the fuel is what drives this economy,this will inevitably be just a terrible chain reaction. We have already started experiencing transport blues again.

For the last week we have been getting home well after 10 p.m. Combis [commuter omnibuses] have already hiked prices unofficially; we have ben paying about $15k/a trip [most Harare workers have to take two of these each way to and from work]. You can only imagine what will happen now that the fuel has gone up. There stillis a stinging fuel shortage...Food stuffs just officially went up at beggining of this month,so this means there will be another huge surge upwards for basics.

zimpundit: In your opinion, what are people feeling about these latest developments?

Tim: You can easily tell by the mood of the general public that the situation appears to have just gone out of hand. I would not be surprised if there are planning some mass demos in the very near future now.

You know how it is , anything that is done on a public campaign by the opposition is always illegal somehow in the eyes of the government. Not too sure though if the outcome will be good,too many goodie goodie zimbos too mate down here.

zimpundit: I see, so what does this mean for you? How are you and the family going to make it?

Tim: This is loads of trouble my friend. I have no idea. All i can do is to try and make sure that I put in as many hours as I can so that at least i can make a some extra money that will sustain us.

*Susan* is an administrative assistant with a technology firm.

zimpundit: How have things changed since the recent fuel price increases?

Susan: Well, I heard that bread's 20k. Transport is now 15k+ a trip. I'll see about other commodities when I'm brave enough to check on what has been happening.

zimpundit: How are people feeling about all this? At what point does it become too much to tolerate?

Susan: People are angry but there's nothing they can do about it because they know the military will descend on us like 2 ton bricks.

zimpundit: But aren't same military people suffering like ordinary poeple?

Susan: They are suffering but they also have to which is more important which is, where is their bread is buttered. They could be our hope but i guess thy are also afraid of the consequences they would face if they retaliated negatively.

There you have it straight from the people. Life as it is on Harare's streets.

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